Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

PORT CLINTON – Playmakers Civic Theatre will kick off its 76th season with the heartwarming Christmas musical, “Rented Christmas,” with eight performance dates beginning Friday, Dec. 9. Director Nadine Jensen calls the performance “a Christmas story with a message and lots of music. It’s definitely a feel-good play.”
“Rented Christmas” tells the story of middle-aged bachelor John Dale, played by Ethan Mandeville, who tells rent shop owner Anne Weston, played by Stacy Maple, that he wants to rent a Christmas, including a tree, carols, a family and holiday happiness. The ensuing events are filled tender moments and joyful music.
Mandeville brings to the play over 20 years of performance experience and the prestige of winning an Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) award for Excellence in Acting.
“Rented Christmas” is as uplifting for the cast as it is for the audience.
“I think my favorite part is when we’re singing carols together. Everyone’s on stage and singing,” Mandeville said. “It’s a big, happy, warm feeling.”
It is a feeling that will be felt across the theater.
“That’s what Playmakers tends to do — put on a feel-good play because people come to the theater for an escape,””Mandeville said. “They come to the theater, and we try to lift their spirits.”
Maple also brings years of experience to the stage, along with a singing voice that adds a sweet, unique gentleness to old, familiar Christmas carols.
“I play Anne Weston, and she kind of epitomizes family and hope and love and is a perpetual optimist,” Maple said. “When John Dale comes in to rent Christmas, she thinks it’s kind of odd, but she tries her best. It’s a sweet story of family and love.”
Throughout the performance, the audience will enjoy familiar Christmas carols and a few new, poignant songs, all performed under the guidance of Musical Director Robert Bell.
“Almost every well-known Christmas carol is incorporated in the play,” Bell said. “It’s very uplifting, with lots of sentiment in it.”
Other “Rented Christmas” cast members are Jacob Allen, David Blankenbecher, Sylvia Chappell, Emily Mennigen, Destiny Wallace, Kane Schermbeck, Emma Johnson, Karsha Schermbeck, Olen Martin, Margaret Helbing, Lillie Rolen and JJ Tripp.
Jensen said Playmakers Civic Theatre has survived in Port Clinton for 76 years because so many locals have a passion for the theater.
“It’s a love of the arts, a love of the theater, the camaraderie of the cast,” she said. “It takes a lot of work, but we have a lot of dedicated people who make it work.”
In recent years, Playmakers have followed a tradition of kicking off the season with a Christmas play or musical.
“Everybody seems to like it,” Jensen said. “It puts them in the Christmas spirit.”
This year’s “Rented Christmas” may be the best one yet.
“It has carols and Santa Claus. It has everything,” Bell said. “It gets you to feel very, very good about the holidays.”
“Rented Christmas” will be performed on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and on Dec. 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Ticket information can be found at or by calling 419-341-7018. Tickets can also be purchased at Lilly and Gert’s at 1622 E. Perry St. Playmaker’s Civic Theatre is at 604 W. Sixth St.
The other performances this season are Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” in March and “When Did You Last See Your Trousers?” in July. Auditions for “Barefoot in the Park” will take place Jan. 8 and 9.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *